Weighing vs. estimating



  • TonyB0588
    TonyB0588 Posts: 9,520 Member
    I weigh some and guess some. Packaged foods are easy, as I use information from the label. Home cooked foods are more difficult. If it's terribly off, it will soon show in lack of progress.
  • EllieElla2015
    EllieElla2015 Posts: 67 Member
    I estimated for almost a year and maintained. When it came to losing I found myself eating minimally to ensure I wasn’t eating too many calories. Too me, counting is freedom because it shows you what you CAN eat. Without counting, I was paranoid I was eating too much when I wasn’t. So it’s possible definitely possible to maintain or lose with estimating, but for me it wasn’t worth it. Knowledge is power for me :)
  • erica_today
    erica_today Posts: 185 Member
    My first 40lbs was lost by estimating alone. If I didn't know how much I'd purposey over estimate my log though. But I had success. The next 10lbs I used a scale for that extra push.
  • dutchandkiwi
    dutchandkiwi Posts: 1,389 Member
    There are a few items that I consistently weigh - My breakfast because I know that at that stage of the day my eyes are not trustworthy in estimations. I'd happily double some of the ingredients and underestimate my calories big time.
    There are a few items I audit; My salads for instance - I am pretty good at the guesstimates there and I know it. As a result I use the scale to check myself about once a month.
    I never weigh my bread; I did that initially for about 50 days and they were all 34-36 g. All get logged at 35.
    When making a recipe I weigh the large ingredients and calorie dense ingredients for instance I'll weigh the bacon, but not green leafy vegetables.

    3.5 years ago I never weighed anything All was guesstimates and I lost quite a bit of weight and then stalled.Started using the scales determined my downfall areas (read gross underestimates) and stated weighing there only. Got to my goal weight. From my over 20 years ago lab background I know I can estimate really well. In our lab we'd have a friendly competition who could be the most accurate in one scoop on weighing whatever out and that trained me pretty well. I guess it was for me re-learning a forgotten skill and also learning when to trust my eyes vs my training.

    For some the scale is the only way to really learn about portion control. For others well they know really what to do or have to skill to do so. The reason why the use of a scale is often recommended is because most people have no idea what the weight of their food is and as a result don't know what their intake is. A little underestimation does not have to be bad perse, but a lot of people underestimate some items by 50%. It is about learning what you eat until it become something you just know. Bit like learning the letters in the alphabet to learn how to read.
  • callsitlikeiseeit
    callsitlikeiseeit Posts: 8,628 Member
    its not tedious once you get in the habit and have your most common items easily accessible from your history.

    that said, i weigh and log.

    when i was maintaining for a year, i rarely weighed (and maintained just fine) but eating at a deficit is a lot harder for me than being at maintenance, i ONLY lose if i weigh and log accurately
  • cmlax
    cmlax Posts: 1 Member
    I am interested in purchasing a food scale in order to weigh my caloric intake. The way I guesstimate right now is by way of comparison to prepared meals I have purchased before. While living in Michigan I had purchased BiteMeals from Haydn and Katy. I have taken the serving sizes and nutritional facts from those meals and have tried to make comparable meals at home. I have been quite successful, you can even check out their website which has pictures of the servings along with the nurtrional facts. Hope this helps.
  • leggup
    leggup Posts: 2,942 Member
    I've noticed that I fall off of logging entirely if I stop weighing my food. Every now and then I have a guesstimate day (usually a weekend) where I log my breakfast and lunch with a food scale and then eat out/eat leftovers without logging, just adding 1,000-1,500 cals to the log and hoping for the best.

    When I log without weighing I tend to undereat, then stop logging and overeat (because I'm so hungry). I also have a harder time balancing my meals. Yesterday I was hungry all day. I looked at my log at the end of the day and I only got 10% of my calories from protein- oops! The log (and knowing it's accurate) helps me with hunger.

    When I did this journey the first time, I logged without weighing. I eyeballed, counted chips, etc. I lost weight just fine because I was overweight, approaching obese. As my weight loss slowed/became variable, I got the food scale. This time around I am only losing a few vanity lbs (already in the normal range), so the food scale is a requirement. 10 lbs down in 2 months, 20 more lbs to go.
  • artbyrachelh
    artbyrachelh Posts: 338 Member
    " I think it also depends how close to goal you are, and how lean you are - as your deficit becomes smaller, accuracy is more important as you could easily wipe out a small deficit by eyeballing food"

    I see a theme here... looks like it's been successful for me so far because I'm at beginning of my weight loss journey. My last 10 lbs may be the time to get accurate. Thanks everyone for sharing your insight. It's tremendously helpful and makes so much sense.
  • kierrakins
    kierrakins Posts: 16 Member
    I have always been an estimator. I have a scale, and I used it a few times just to get an estimate on meat portions, but since then, I haven't touched it (unless a baking recipe requires it). I just don't have the time to weigh everything when I'm cooking, because I enjoy spontaneity. It always annoys me when people basically demand that you use a food scale in some recent threads I have read. You do you, and I'll do me lol. I don't generally eat back the calories I burn doing exercise (unless I feel hungry), since my routines are pretty moderate so any issues with my estimations are generally resolved through my workouts.

    That's just what I do. To each their own :)
  • MelanieCN77
    MelanieCN77 Posts: 4,047 Member
    I weigh and measure still, six months into maintenance, because I want no fuzzy edges or misunderstandings about what's going on. It's worth it to me, day to day, to not have a grey area or any gaps in my understanding.
  • ShaeSweetness
    ShaeSweetness Posts: 61 Member
    I have this little tiny food scale from weight watchers from years ago. Its cool and comes in handy. I dont weight everything by any means but ive weighed a few of my favorite foods just to get an idea. im big on low sodium ham and i always log 4 ounces when ive had more than 2 slices. Weighed it out of curiosity and 4 slices is just under 2 ounces, and i realized i had been putting more cals down then needed. I weigh small things like that just to have an idea around the general amount that im eating. The rest of the stuff i just size up on my own from my knowledge of how much things weigh from what ive already seen weighed. But similar to you if in unsure i tend to jack up the calories a bit and with my workouts i always lower the calories a bit to make sure im not cheating myself!
  • artbyrachelh
    artbyrachelh Posts: 338 Member
    "Weighed it out of curiosity and 4 slices is just under 2 ounces, and i realized i had been putting more cals down then needed."

    That's a great example of why indeed food should be weighed!
  • 3bambi3
    3bambi3 Posts: 1,650 Member
    "Weighed it out of curiosity and 4 slices is just under 2 ounces, and i realized i had been putting more cals down then needed."

    That's a great example of why indeed food should be weighed!

    If you want to quote the poster and have it appear like ^ that does, you can hit the "Quote" link below the post you want to quote :smile:

    And I agree weighing can be very useful! It was an eye-opener for me. While I've gotten good at being able to pick out 4 ounces of meat, I still use mine for calorie-dense things like oats, butters, avocados, etc.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,813 Member
    edited October 2017
    I weighed most things for a while and found it very educational to see where my calories were coming from and portion sizes but was never going to do it forever.
    Transitioned to weighing only calorie dense items (breakfast cereal, cheese for example) and estimating more.

    Crucially I suppose I was prepared to adjust my goals based on consistency and actual results rather than blind faith in numbers.

    I don't find it at all difficult to maintain at goal weight without weighing or logging food. I'm still calorie aware but don't calorie count.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 8,052 Member
    I'm a scientist, thus of course I weight my food! However, I do allow for some freedom. When I get a new loaf of bread I put in on the scale. Then I use an average based on the number of slices. Weighing my food when cooking is super easy and only takes about a minute extra: peel onion, put on scale, input weight into app, chop onion, Open tube of tomato paste, put on scale and swich on, use paste, put back on scale and log, etc. When cooking a new recipe I have a rough idea on the calories. If I noticed halfway in that it might be far too high in calories then I might make some changes, like use chicken breast instead of paneer for example. If the recipe comes in too low I add something or eat someting else later in the evening. Easy.